Reading at Home and On the Road…

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If every day could be like this one…80 degrees, bright and sunny, and as I write this, nearly every one of our students is reading. Today is Inly’s annual Drop Everything and Read event, the best hour in the whole school year. Kids and teachers and administrators and even some parents are all reading. I just walked across campus and it was so quiet. There are kids everywhere, but all of the voices are on the page….


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This past weekend, I visited friends who have a beautiful home in the Berkshires. Like today, the weather was perfect so every view of the mountains was breathtaking.

One of the highlights of our weekend adventure was the Norman Rockwell Museum where, after touring the museum, visitors are encouraged to walk up a small hill to Rockwell’s studio.  The studio, which was moved from Rockwell’s backyard to the museum in 1986, makes Rockwell more real. The museum establishes him as one of the artists most responsible for providing images that reflect the values and aspirations of many Americans. But in the studio you see a multi-dimensional person who changed over time. The incredibly kind and engaging docent answered our questions, making it clear that he knows – and more importantly – cares about his subject.  One of my favorite parts of the studio was looking at Rockwell’s collection of art books. He was reading about Monet and Renoir and the Spanish painters, and not surprisingly there are books about advertising and poster design…

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Lunch at a nearby cafe was delicious. What initially seemed like an overwhelming selection of sandwiches was quickly narrowed down to one – because of the sandwich’s name:

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Luckily for me, the Reader sandwich was delicious. It was a vegetable panini with a terrific name!

We also went to a wonderful bookstore – in a most unlikely spot. Tucked into the center of a strip mall in Great Barrington is The Bookloft. At first glance, the store seems to have been lost on its way to a tree-lined street with a fair trade coffee house next door. The strip mall, complete with the requisite nail salon a few doors down, just isn’t the obvious setting for the Bookloft, but all doubts are dispelled the second you walk in the door. This is truly one of those stores that makes my stomach feel a bit jittery. It’s big, but cozy – and so well curated. I was not at all surprised to see a chapter about the Bookloft in My Bookstore, a book of 84 short essays about stores like this one and the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley.   Many of the books have “staff recommendation” notes poking out of their covers. There were books I hadn’t even considered reading, but then you read the note and think…. maybe I do want to read The Remedy about the search for the cure for tuberculosis.  This would be a fun day: have coffee in Brookline before browsing at Brookline Booksmith. Travel to South Hadley for lunch and spend some time at the Odyssey. Finally….end your day in Great Barrington. Have dinner in one of the cute restaurants on Main Street, but finish your day at the strip mall!

Summer vacation is almost here. I’m tempted….




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